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eLearning and Social Networking in Mentoring Processes to Support Active Ageing


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Author: Ileana Hamburg

Mentoring is a human resources development process often used to induct, introduce and guide staff into places of employment.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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eLearning and Social Networking in Mentoring Processes to Support Active Ageing

  1. 1. From the field eLearning and Social Networking in Mentoring Processes to Support Active AgeingAuthor Mentoring is a human resources development process often used to induct, introduce and guide staff into places of employment.Ileana Hamburg, Institutefor Work and Technology/WH Training people on the job or using elderly people as mentors can be organised to ad-Gelsenkirchen, Germany dress aspects like skill shortage in organisations, recruiting and retaining personal the necessary knowledge and active involvement of older people. In this paper we present some aspects of mentoring, particularly the ICT support of such process andTags give examples.mentoring, ICT support,communities, social media,active ageing 1. Introduction Mentoring has been used in Europe for a long time. It is a human resources development process often used to induct, introduce and guide staff into places of employment. (Edelkraut & Graf, 2011; Johnson & Ridley, 2008) However, over recent decades the utilization of these concepts has also been shaped with regard to worldwide phenomena of demographic change. In this paper we use it relating to active ageing concepts. The effects of demographic ageing will be felt all across Europe and will have significant so- cial, economic and budgetary consequences (European Commission, 2011). It is not sure that economic, social and educational models of the past fifteen years will be able to face up to these changes. Organisations recognise today that it is often difficult to recruit and retain personal with the necessary knowledge and that active involvement of older people can bring economic and social value to society. They can make direct contribu- tions as volunteers, workers, informal careers and consumers and this maintains older peo- ple motivation, sense of feeling valued and contributes to avoid social isolation and many of its associated problems and risks. Mentoring altering people on the job or using elderly people as mentors can be organised to address these aspects. Mentoring on the job (at work place) is a complex process involving not just guidance and suggestion from mentors to mentees (protégés), but also the development of autonomous skills, judgments, personal and professional mastership, expertise, trust and selfconfidence over the time. It is particularly important for mentees with special needs like these with dis- abilities or elderly ones to support them in utilization of their resources (knowledge, skill, ap- titude) and to socially integrate them also into the work and social life (Breipohl & Hamburg, 2011; Kram, 1985). The company can have benefits from mentoring by a quick introduction of the mentee into formal and informal company structures and demands, dissemination of technical or internal ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eueL ers 29 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 29 • June 2012Pap www 1
  2. 2. From the fieldknowledge, training of social competence of the mentee and Social media, particularly based on Web 2.0 ((O’Reilly, 2005),the mentor. i.e., media which supports social interactions and social knowl- edge transfer, can be used to develop such systems taking manyMentees have the opportunity to meet with a trusted person different forms, including internet forums, weblogs and enter into a work place quickly and to cope with initial prob- The technical skills needed to use social media are rather low.lems to discuss and resolve emerging job problems of genuinenature and in relation to the individual needs. They learn setting ICT supported mentoring in a social network like a mentoringrealistic goals and achieving them, enhance their skills and thus oriented Community of Practice (CoP) (Wenger et al., 2002;their future career opportunities and prospects in the future, Hamburg et al., 2008) has a number of benefits:can build social relationships or interactions and contacts new • Provision of a 24 hour access of saved knowledge, for onlinecommunication partners. training material and communication • Accessible anywhere with internet availabilityA mentor should possess competence like: • Provision of a platform even if face-to-face communication • Social Competences (particularly interest, motivation, is not possible awareness, (verbal and non-verbal) communication, apti- tude, empathy and engagement skills). • Learning assessment and progress monitoring of the men- tor-mentee relationship. • Professional Competences (responsibility standards in knowledge and skill). Although eLearning in an ICT supported CoP ((Johnson, 2001) • Operating Competences according to ethical and profes- allows for “anytime, anywhere” access to learning content, sional standards and to know the boundaries when engag- unsolved difficulties and misunderstanding of online learning ing with mentees. can frustrate mentees particularly elderly ones. One exampleThe training, the mentors receive in order to achieve such com- is “Provision of a 24 hour access for online training material andpetences, means for them enhancement of their training and communication”. If this aspect is not clarified, the student’s anx-counselling skills, development of their role within the compa- iety increases sitting at the computer and waiting for an answerny, possibility to share their professional experiences with oth- to their questions or messages.ers, exchange of experience with other mentors by using, e.g., Other aspects are trust and the depth of relationships. Face-a social network to-face interaction and socialisation processes consolidate theElderly people can also be mentors for newcomers in a com- relations between members and group membership. Trust ispany or they can work as volunteer’s mentors i.e. within social important for knowledge sharing in a network and this developsnetworks. primarily through face-to-face interactions. A trust relationship has to be established online, if this approach will be used in the2. ICT supported mentoring project on a regular basis by the mentors and mentees. So tradi- tional elements of monitoring/mentoring have to be affiliated.The using of flexible learning methods like eLearning, of ad- Experience from our projects demonstrates the need for a con-vanced social connectedness and social network activities with- stant presence of experienced and qualified mentors in the ICTin the mentoring process supports active ageing by increased supporting system. Often elderly mentees feel isolated whenintegration and social life. This process can be supported by they are enrolled in completely eLearning ICT-based platform, particularly one based on social mediaand Web services allowing mentors and mentees (aged people) ICT supporting system should be used in a context so that per-to learn online, to communicate and collaborate, and to share sonal issues, which are not suitable for the online environment,knowledge and other different pathways to assess learning pro- do not become accessible for all. It should support real mentor-cesses. ing and not be understood as a supervisory tool.Such ICT approach supports different learning abilities of stu-dents and overcomes the limitations in time or space etc. of tra-ditional face-to-face training, ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • eL ers 29 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 29 • June 2012 Pap www 2
  3. 3. From the field3. Examples Another EU on-going innovation transfer Leonardo project is Net Knowing 2.0: Web 2.0 Technologies and Net CollaboratingIBB2 (Integrated Care Taking Practices to support learning in European SMEs (www.netknow-unsere_dienste/eu_projekte/ibb_2_integrative_behinderten- One of the aims of the project is to help SMEs to turnbetreuun) is an European Leonardo innovation transfer project their daily work into a source of corporate learning for all theiraimed to support people with disabilities to enter and to be suc- employees. Discussions with SMEs have been done about ef-cessfully integrated into professional life through a mentoring ficient using of informal learning and eLearning also within aapproach. For Germany we extended the project with mentor- mentoring process. The goal of mentoring staff from SMEs is toing for elderly people. improve job performance by increasing employ- ee’s capability to manage their own performance emphasing on trust, experience, and supervision, to facilitate performance in the organisation, to support retention particularly for elderly staff and leadership development. A first version of an ICT based CoP supporting also mentoring has been developed by using TikiWiki. The eLearning suite developed in the project and connected to the CoP contains a module for mentor training.Figure 1: IBB2 CoP (Source: training of diversity coaches DC(who train mentors) and mentors isdone by informal and formal faceto face and eLearning methods sup-ported by an ICT based CoP devel-oped with the social media tool Tiki-Wiki ( It supports: • Training of the DC and mentors • Knowledge Transfer from DC to mentors and from mentors to mentees • Mentoring process including mentee learning.Training material for mentors is avail-able online but in addition, a discus-sion forum for each module enableslearners and trainers/experts to ex-change and add ideas to the envi-ronment, to provide feedback (anon-ymously, if desired). It also enablesthem to pose queries to which otherparticipants or the mentors can an-swer. Figure 2: NetKnowing 2.0 Course from eLearning suite (Source: http://www.nk2.uvedev. es/) ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • eL ers 29 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 29 • June 2012 Pap www 3
  4. 4. From the field4. Conclusions AcknowledgementIn the process of supporting active ageing by using mentoring This paper describes work within the Leonardo innovation pro-within informal and formal approaches, ICT methods should be jects IBB2 and Net Knowing 2.0.blended with traditional face-to-face ones. A trust relationshiphas to be established first (if possible) face-to-face and later on-line, if the ICT based system will be used in the project on aregular basis by the mentors and mentees. References Johnson, W. & Ridley, C. (2008): The Elements of Mentoring. Revised Edition. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, ISBN 978-0-230- Breipohl, W. & Hamburg, I. (2011). Mentoring and diversity 61364-5. coaching on the job. In: Life long learning for competitiveness, employability and social inclusion: international conference, 11.- Kram, K. (1985). Mentoring at work. Developmental relationships 13.11.2011, Craiova, Romania. Craiova: Editura Universitaria, pp. in organizational life. Scott, Foresman and Company, Glenview, 42-47. ISBN 0-673-15617-6. Edelkraut, F. & Graf, N. (2011). Der Mentor – Rolle, Erwartun- O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is Web 2.0. Design patterns and Business gen, Realität. Pabst Science Publishers, ISBN 978-3-89967-723-2. models for the next generation of Software. web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html. Hamburg, I., Engert, S., Petschenka, A. & Marin, M. (2008). Improving eLearning 2.0-based training strategies on SMEs Wenger, E., McDermott, R. & Sydner, W. (2002). Cultivating through communities of practice. In: The International Associa- communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge. Boston: tion of Science and Technology for Development: The Seventh Harvard Business School Press. IASTED International Conference on Web-Based Education, 17.- European Commission (2011). How to promote active ageing 19.03.2008, Innsbruck, Austria. pp. 200-205. in Europe, retrieved April 16, 2012 from http://www.age-plat- Johnson, C. (2001). A survey of current research on online com- munities of practice. Internet and Higher Education, 4, pp. 45-60. Edition and production Name of the publication: eLearning Papers Copyrights ISSN: 1887-1542 The texts published in this journal, unless otherwise indicated, are subject Publisher: to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivativeWorks Edited by: P.A.U. Education, S.L. 3.0 Unported licence. They may be copied, distributed and broadcast pro- Postal address: c/Muntaner 262, 3r, 08021 Barcelona (Spain) vided that the author and the e-journal that publishes them, eLearning Phone: +34 933 670 400 Papers, are cited. Commercial use and derivative works are not permitted. Email: The full licence can be consulted on Internet: es/by-nc-nd/3.0/ ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • eL ers 29 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 29 • June 2012 Pap www 4